He was there for me when I was far away from home and felt alone.
He was there right when I needed him, make me laugh, feed my belly to lift my spirits.
He navigated our relationship with great intention.
“You know this is a gay church, right?” Those were the first I spoke four years ago (after, what my husband describes as me “politely prancing right up to him after services”) to the man who would soon become my life-long bestie.
And that was the origin story of one of the most loyal friendships I have ever experienced—and continue to enjoy. From that moment on, Chris slipped right into the open chair at our wide framily table and became not just a friend, but a brother. We became home for him and he would become a loyal steward of the sensibility and place that word holds for us all.
During his time in Dallas, Chris and I developed a real sense of trust with each other. He and the framily spent so many great times in Dallas together, many of them nights spent in each others’ homes, before his work took him to the West coast—conveniently and unknowingly—as sort of an advance team for me when I would decide to move out there just four months later for school. (OK, also for his career—but mostly for me.) There was a gap, to be sure, in our framily life with his departure but what I would realize is that…he never really left.
I’ll admit: immediately into my time away from home, I became hella-homesick and a bit forlorn. I missed my husband, my kids, our community, and my people. But as it turns out, Chris and I lived only 90-minutes max from each other. So, the second weekend away from home, he called and said he was coming to Berkeley to take me to lunch and hang out—to see each other yes, but mainly because he sensed in my countenance what was happening inside me.
That was the first of his many life-saving trips (including ones I took a Greyhound to Sac!) to rescue me and feed me, yes—but to bring “home” to me in a way that I so greatly needed at that time. Over the next three years, we had so much fun exploring the Castro, reflecting on life up on the roof overlooking the San Francisco bay, and experiencing some substantive moments of meditation that expanded not only our minds but our relationship.
When I stepped across that stage, I was able to do so in great part because of the way that Chris cared for me during those arduous six semesters when home often felt so far away. Besides all the burgers and shakes he bought me (and other things), his intentionality with our relationship remains his greatest gift to me.
So on this day when we commemorate the beginning of another trip around the sun for him, I want him to know just how much he has meant—and means—to me and how grateful I am that he did knowingly come to the big gay church in Dallas that Wednesday night in November.
To become a part of our lives and to be “home” for me and we, for him.
Love you bestie!